Google Wave was seen as one of the spectacular failures of 2010. While the product did not find resonance with the users, the underlying technology that was used in it has been winding its way to acceptance ranging from getting incubated in Apache and a new offering from Google labs named Google Shared Spaces.
We reported on the demise of Wave and had remarked that it will not be a surprise if Google releases products built on the same foundations that Wave was built on. The direction that it has taken since then has confirmed that. The first indication was the Wave Protocol Summit, which saw a discussion on the architecture of Wave, opportunities for its use and possible options to open source it. One of the outcomes of that was a proposal for Wave to enter the Apache Software Foundations’ incubator program. An official Wave blog post confirmed that the proposal was accepted and it is now called Apache Wave. This should be positive news for developers who had invested their time in understanding Google Wave, its API and we should see interesting collaborative applications in the next year that in all probability be powered by the technology used in Wave.
There is more good news for Wave developers via the Shared Spaces announcement. Wave APIs, if you recollect, allowed developers to build Wave gadgets, which were mini-applications by themselves. Google Shared Spaces presents a convenient way to convert those gadgets into standalone collaborative applications. What that means is that you can create a Shared Space powered by a Gadget and then work on that collaboratively with your friends/co-workers. There is no sign in required for using Shared Spaces and examples include annotating a shared map, polling gadgets and several games.
The Google Shared Spaces API, which enables you to create a Shared Spaces Gadget, is actually the Wave Gadgets API. Details on how you can write a Shared Spaces Gadgets and instructions of submitting it for inclusion in the public gallery is present here. If you are familiar with the Wave Gadgets API, it should be a breeze.
Google Wave as a product was extremely flexibile and that perhaps was also one of the reasons why users could not figure how best to use it. With Shared Spaces, it presents a more focused approach but the big question is still user acceptance. What are your views on the future of Wave Technology? Do you plan to consider it in any of your collaborative applications?